Nicholas D. Trbovich Jr. attended his father’s funeral Saturday without incident. No one asked that he leave Our Lady of Victory Basilica in Lackawanna.
That wasn’t the case the night before, when two court orders could not get him into the Orchard Park funeral home that held calling hours for the late Nicholas Trbovich Sr.
The elder Trbovich had been a captain of industry. In 1959, he founded the technology company Servotronics, which today has hundreds of employees and a $6 million factory in Elma. His patents and expertise made their mark on components for Boeing and Airbus aircraft. The Kensington High graduate held two doctorate degrees and is honored in the Niagara Frontier Aviation and Space Hall of Fame.
When he died Tuesday at the age of 82, Nicholas Trbovich Sr. left behind a daughter and four sons, one of whom was omitted from the obituary – Nicholas Trbovich Jr.
“This is just a very sad situation,” said Joseph Makowski, a lawyer who helped obtain those two court orders late Friday afternoon. “Whatever differences there are between brothers, family members, you would think you would put them aside when a parent passes away.”
In court papers, Nicholas Jr. attributes the sad situation to the actions of his brother Kenneth. They are estranged, Nicholas wrote, because of “long-standing business and personal disputes.”
In 2010, Nicholas Jr. moved from chief operating officer to president of Servotronics. He had worked at the company since high school and was its second-highest executive. But he was ousted two years later, when Servotronics appointed younger brother Kenneth to succeed him.
Nicholas Jr. challenged the action and won. An arbitrator in October 2014 deemed his termination “a sham” and awarded him $4.7 million in damages.
The sum rocked the company. The $4.7 million, plus the $850,000 that Nicholas Jr. sought in attorney’s fees, amounted to about four years’ of profits. The…